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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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105 Responses

  1. Kristin
    Kristin December 18, 2008 at 8:53 am |

    Yeah, nothing I haven’t heard, unfortunately. Beth Moore is truly horrible–and a similarly offensive homophobe to boot. I do see where you’re coming from and agree for the most part in principle. I don’t think it’s fair to call out Obama without also calling out the members of Congress who had a direct hand in making the decision. At a non-strategic level, this whole thing has been making me wonder *why* we have a Christian innaugural prayer *at all.* Supposed Upholders of Separation Between Church and State that we are.

    Anyway… I don’t believe that we have a center-left President-elect. I found his center-right campaigning to be fairly transparent, and I’m not particularly surprised by this now. He’s a far cry from the far-right extremism that has overtaken the Republican party, but there is nothing particularly leftist about him. Not even really center-left. Yes, I can see how this is “apologism” of a sort, but I’m not really attempting to dictate how everyone else should respond. It’s just that I currently have material concerns that consume so much of my energy that I do not share the degree of moral outrage here that some have expressed. I see this as a superficial symbolic gesture that certainly stings on the surface, but will not, I hope, affect our lives.

    This part:

    “Being a uniter is great and important, but not at the expense of the basic civil rights of your fellow citizens.”

    I agree. Obama has been dodgy on rights, especially I think, wrt his support for FISA and his opposition to gay marriage (a position that, though it may be “apologism,” many of us accepted as the lesser evil because it seems like a strategic posture that most candidates have to assume in order to be elected these days, and we *really* wanted to party that *wasn’t* being represented by McCain/Palin to win.). Over the course of the election, I would suggest that many of us (including me) gave Obama a free pass on rights issues that I find to be far more potent, and I don’t really apologize for that (I supported him for strategic reasons). It is crucial to hold him accountable for these positions, as they will directly contribute to policies that impede my rights and the rights of my fellow citizens. But an innaugural prayer by Warren does not come at the expense of anyone’s rights. It stings. It’s insulting. But it is what it is. And I’d rather see Warren give the prayer than become a Spiritual Adviser to the President-Elect. *crosses fingers hard*

  2. Kristin
    Kristin December 18, 2008 at 8:56 am |

    Oops, that part should read:

    “We really wanted *a* party…”

  3. » Blog Archive » Shock of the Day
    » Blog Archive » Shock of the Day December 18, 2008 at 9:31 am |

    [...] available to offer an Obama inaugural invocation but Rick Anti-Gay, Anti-Choice, Pro-Assassination Warren.  Shocking, [...]

  4. Tiffany
    Tiffany December 18, 2008 at 9:40 am |

    The thing that these submission pushers rarely acknowledge is that the other have of the submitting wife equation is the husband who loves his wife as Christ loved the church. I’ve yet to run across THAT guy.

  5. CBrachyrhynchos
    CBrachyrhynchos December 18, 2008 at 9:41 am |

    What Kristin said. It really baffles me how much people really want to believe that Obama is playing some sort of left-wing jujitsu or following the maxim, “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer” rather than the WYSIWYG centrist politics he’s been promising since his grand 2004 DNC speech.

  6. Quixotess
    Quixotess December 18, 2008 at 10:08 am |

    The thing that these submission pushers rarely acknowledge is that the other have of the submitting wife equation is the husband who loves his wife as Christ loved the church. I’ve yet to run across THAT guy.

    That’s, uh, right in the linked article. There’s a whole big section about it.

    Not that it justifies or in any way fixes the submission part, but it’s heavily emphasized.

  7. apoptotic
    apoptotic December 18, 2008 at 10:30 am |

    But I guess I didn’t realize that “unity” meant “unity at the expense of the basic civil rights of your fellow citizens.” That’s what Rick Warren represents and promotes, and that is a big problem.

    Eh, I don’t see how that’s the case here. If Obama were giving Warren a cabinet position or some such, that would certainly be “at expense.” But an invocation? The parts hardly anyone remembers five seconds after they happen? No, this just looks like a bit of good faith (so to speak) tossed at people who largely dislike Obama/Democrats (due in part, I doubt coincidentally, to Warren’s theocratic blatherings pre-election), in the hopes of making them less reflexively hostile. Hell, the same rationale was probably used for letting Warren’s church host that Potemkin debate.

    I doubt the invocation will succeed any more than the debate did, but I can’t see it actually causing damage either.

  8. arielariel
    arielariel December 18, 2008 at 10:48 am |

    ok grassroots! let’s organize! who do we call to register our displeasure?

  9. Kristen
    Kristen December 18, 2008 at 10:52 am |

    I’m starting to get a little aggravated.

    I care deeply about women’s rights. I also care about the rights of members of the LGB community, transpersons, the polyamorous, people of color, the poor, the aged, and children. I’m a (self-identified) feminist, but I’m also a humanist. I want all people to be able to live happy, healthy and fulfilled (by their own definition) lives.*

    And frankly, I don’t care who I have to “talk” to, pander to, smile at or find common ground with in order make things better.

    Let me point out a hypothetical. If hanging out with an anti-choice and anti-woman bigot and respecting him as a person, but calmly point out that you disagree on some issues, resulted in hate crime legislation that protected transpersons would you do it?

    I would…in a heart beat. And in real life, helping people pretty often requires dealing with people with whom you vehemently disagree. Real life is messy and ugly and often there are no simple right and wrong answers.**

    I think we’ve become too fanatical when we fail to see our ideological “enemies” as people with whom we disagree on some issues.

    And isn’t that our main criticism of the religious right? That they fail to see people with whom they disagree (particularly, members of the LGB&T communities) as fully human and deserving of respect and equal treatment under the law?

    Warren is an asshole. Clearly. I don’t agree with him. If I met him, I probably wouldn’t like him. (My personal bigotry being that Christianity makes my skin crawl…I’m working on it.) BUT if letting him give talk at a public event about something we both agree on would result in one less person contracting and dying of AIDS or one less family suffering without food or clean water…then I’d feel really damn stupid uninviting him.

    If Obama had said, I agree with this Warran character on all issues, we’re like intellectual twins! He is speaking at my inauguration because when he speaks…you know every word out of his mouth is exactly what I would say…I would be LIVID. But that isn’t what his transition team is saying. They’re specifically saying

    The President-elect disagrees with Pastor Warren on issues that affect the LGBT community. They disagree on other issues as well. But what’s important is that they agree on many issues vital to the pursuit of social justice, including poverty relief….

    So what is more important to you…pointing out that Warren is a hateful bigot on Issues A-D or working to resolve Issues E-F?

    *I’m also a utilitarian-existentialist, so I judge ethical behavior on the intent to cause direct harm to others. [Many here disagree with me on this underlying belief...and we end up arguing over it in 20 posts, so I decided to forestall the argument by point it out myself and saying...we'll have agree to disagree.]

    **For example, right now…I am appeasing a fucking pedophile, so that his step daughter can get the psychological counseling she needs. Personally, I’d like to bash his head in or hound him to death with CPS, but…guess what, neither of those strategies would actually help the child who is currently being harmed. (The mom happens to date child molesters often, this is number 3…and there isn’t any “evidence” of sexual abuse.) So I have dinner with the bastard once or twice a month and smile and listen to him complain about how this small child isn’t “obedient” so that I can have permission to take her therapy twice a week for the dissociative disorder her mother’s first husband caused. Maybe a few years from now, the little girl will be able to tell her therapist what is going on and we can have her removed from the home…but for now…I smile and eat the bile that comes up every time I see the bastard. Real life is ugly, complicated and causes ulcers.

  10. Kristin
    Kristin December 18, 2008 at 10:55 am |

    But, of course, everything else being what it is… I still find the gnashing of teeth by the PUMA-like contingent in the previous thread to be insulting. It’s possible to be insulted and disappointed by this news without having *actually expected* the President-elect to move aggressively toward some kind of utopian vision. As in… I explained that I don’t find this all that surprising because I viewed Obama as a center-right candidate all along–and one who was slightly further to the right than Edwards but slightly further to the left than Clinton. That said, I do not wish to be associated with the smug people in the thread below who are going off on their self-righteous tangents about how “I can’t believe you idiots are surprised by this!”

    I’m not as outraged as some people, but sure, I’m disappointed. The thing is… Disappointment doesn’t translate into: “I am shocked, SHOCKED about this new information because I believed that was voting for a new Messiah!” To be clear, I don’t view Jill or anyone else in the thread as expressing this kind of sentiment, and while I differ with Jill and others about the degree of Obama’s “center-left” politics… Well, I’ll just say that I find all the smug nay-sayers below to be a bit disingenuous. The people in our community don’t need folks who sound like PUMAs telling us how stupid we were for supporting Obama. (CBrachrynchos, none of this is directed at you, but rather at some of the assholery going on in the other thread.)

  11. CBrachyrhynchos
    CBrachyrhynchos December 18, 2008 at 11:14 am |

    Kristin: Part of the frustration that is coming out here is the feeling that, yet again, LGBTs are only under the big tent when needed for the election, and after the election they become one of the first targets for compromise. This isn’t a surprise after we’ve been told that action on DADT has been postponed to midterm, and Obama has backed away from action on DOMA.

  12. weejit
    weejit December 18, 2008 at 11:23 am |

    So, Kristin, why don’t you tell us how we should be publicly reacting? Heaven forbid we have our own personal reactions to Obama’s douchebaggery.

    Part of our outrage isn’t that we’re suprised that Obama is not more left leaning, but at the POLITICAL ClIMATE that doesn’t seem to give a rat’s ass about hiding the hate or the lies anymore. Everyone seems so confident in their bigotry that it makes this feel more like the junior high playground than adults planning the future and welfare of this country.

  13. Kristin
    Kristin December 18, 2008 at 11:35 am |

    weejit:

    “So, Kristin, why don’t you tell us how we should be publicly reacting? Heaven forbid we have our own personal reactions to Obama’s douchebaggery.”

    Um, I didn’t…? What I did say was that you have no right to dismiss us as naive utopians for being disappointed by this. When your own reaction extends to insulting those of us who are disappointed by this, then, well… Yeah, fuck you and your “own personal reaction.”

  14. Kristin
    Kristin December 18, 2008 at 11:36 am |

    CBrachrynchos: I agree with you.

  15. Eleniel
    Eleniel December 18, 2008 at 11:44 am |

    Thank you, Jill, for saying what I haven’t been able to articulate since this news dropped.

    What really irritates me about Obama (and honestly, there isn’t a whole lot that irritates me about him) is that he seems to see progressives and conservatives as just two groups with different ideas that disagree. He takes this very distant stance which is in direct conflict with his image as a compassionate leader.

    I hope he realizes that we aren’t just people who disagree, we are people whose very bodies and identities are under attack by this terrible man, a man who is offended by our very existence, by our will to make choices for our own lives.

  16. Ellen
    Ellen December 18, 2008 at 11:45 am |

    I’m totally in agreement with this, Jill. Given the extremely painful passage of Prop 8, and the role of people like Rick Warren in its passage, the selection is insensitive at best, fuck-you at worst. I reject the apologism that says we should accept his selection because he’s anti-poverty and wants to help stop the spread of AIDS. That’s pretty low-hanging fruit. Would we accept some white supremacist, bell-curve type? Some known anti-Semite?

    It’s good that there’s a strong reaction against Warren’s selection. But so far, I guess I’ve been disappointed that my favorite feminist blogs haven’t come out as strongly against the pro-business, pro-war appointments in so many areas of Obama’s administration. I feel we’re engaging better with social issues Obama’s moving towards center on, as opposed to a critique of the capitalism that Obama will perpetuate. But as I read these comments, I realize that, like me, a lot of other people never expected anything else from O.

  17. Kristin
    Kristin December 18, 2008 at 11:47 am |

    weejit: Basically, I think you totally misunderstood what I was saying (unless you are a PUMA and/or one of the people who’s been going on about “you dumb gays!” in conversations with those of us who voted for Obama). Those are the people I was talking about. I quickly glanced over the previous thread, and I don’t, um, see you doing what I was talking about, or really participating at all… Did you *read* the comments section I was referrnig to? Explanation is in moderation queue.

  18. Kristin
    Kristin December 18, 2008 at 11:50 am |

    Eleniel:

    Yes, to this:

    “What really irritates me about Obama (and honestly, there isn’t a whole lot that irritates me about him) is that he seems to see progressives and conservatives as just two groups with different ideas that disagree. He takes this very distant stance which is in direct conflict with his image as a compassionate leader.”

    I completely agree, but on some level… I still wonder (I guess we need to cling to some hope, eh? Or, I do anyway.) if this may actually be a skill that enables him to get *more* things done at the policy level? But, yeah, I hear you.

  19. Kristin
    Kristin December 18, 2008 at 11:59 am |

    Ellen:

    Yes, I agree on this:

    “I reject the apologism that says we should accept his selection because he’s anti-poverty and wants to help stop the spread of AIDS.”

    But I don’t see any Warren apologism going on on this or the other thread. What I–and others–have said is being interpreted as a degree of Obama apologism. I concede that criticism to a degree, but I don’t see it as any different from the Obama apologism that I engaged in by voting for him even though I knew that he opposes gay marriage and supported FISA. I see formal politics as strategic and don’t support candidates believing that they speak from some kind of “pure and untarnished” perspective. See what I said in thread below wrt how Obama and his people won’t be rounding me up in the camps a la R.J. Rushdoony and Followers, so yeah… I voted for him for strategic reasons–like basic survival–and don’t apologize for that.

    This:

    “Would we accept some white supremacist, bell-curve type? Some known anti-Semite?”

    Um. No. And no one here has accepted Warren either.

    As for this:

    “But so far, I guess I’ve been disappointed that my favorite feminist blogs haven’t come out as strongly against the pro-business, pro-war appointments in so many areas of Obama’s administration.”

    Yeah, well, me too, but I guess that’s where we should start our own blogs and/or frequent less mainstream ones, eh? Don’t really think it’s cool to lecture people about what they should be blogging about.

  20. Nicholas
    Nicholas December 18, 2008 at 12:05 pm |

    Meh, color me unsurprised. As many commentators already have noted, Obama’s been pretty Machiavellian from the get-go, and continues, shockingly to one MSM-meme, not to be a reincarnation of Ernesto Guevara.

    That being said, I suspect many people will be registering their disappointment with various ideological things President-Elect Obama does throughout his tenure in office (as Jill noted, he appears to value arguments from both sides of the culture wars divide in attempts to forge a broader coalition). What will be an actual disappointment is his actual policy implementations begin to look more like political calculations (see: Rick Warren) rather than taking some more principled stances on certain issues.

    The best I can offer is to say “we’ll see,” but I note he certainly has been more willing to explain his decisions and thought-processes to the American people than most of our current establishment, and I think he understands the strength of the Court of Public Opinion better than most and would invite a public debate on the merits of his moves.

    So mobilize, you glorious, grassroot bastards. Mobilize and make your opinions heard.

  21. weejit
    weejit December 18, 2008 at 12:12 pm |

    “Did you *read* the comments section I was referrnig to? ”

    Sigh. Twice in one week I’ve had foot-in-mouth.

    Yeah a went over and read what you wrote. I *totallY* thought you were saying something else. My apologies.

  22. evil_fizz
    evil_fizz December 18, 2008 at 12:12 pm |

    I am so tired of the idea that the basic humanity of 10% of the population is “disagreement on some issues”. Disagreement on issues (to me) means things like how hawkish you are on foreign policy, your views on school vouchers, and the degree to which you genuflect at the altar of the free market. It does not mean that you think 10% of the population isn’t even worthy of basic freedoms and protections and that 50% of the population has a tendency to be a little too uppity and owes a submissive posture to their spouse.

    I can buy the idea that you don’t have to be in ideological lockstep with all your friends and acquaintances, but when a substantial portion of a public figure’s rhetoric is about how your friends and acquaintances are lesser than everyone else, there’s a problem.

  23. Kristin
    Kristin December 18, 2008 at 12:17 pm |

    weejit: Thanks, it’s cool.

  24. Kristin
    Kristin December 18, 2008 at 12:18 pm |

    evil_fizz: Yeah, agreed.

  25. Kristen
    Kristen December 18, 2008 at 12:29 pm |

    Evil Fizz,

    I think you have a much more charitable view of human nature than I do. I think pretty much every human being on the planet considers some portion of the population to be not “worthy of basic freedoms and protections”. If its not women being raped and stoned, its putting drug addicts in prison, or its (some of) our very own troops using ethnic slurs to dehumanize the Iraqis.

    Humans like othering. It seems to fill some deep psychological need to be assholes.

  26. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig December 18, 2008 at 1:10 pm |

    *Sigh* As I pointed out on another blog- yet more proof that it’s impossible to be progressive and a Christian. Evilfizz- this is why we have to protest, as people will die if we give an inch on any of the issues.
    Oh, and Kristin-about the child molester- he is an excellent argument for the existence of arsenic.

  27. Kristin
    Kristin December 18, 2008 at 1:19 pm |

    I was going to post this on the thread below, but then I realized that it fits better here. And I’m pretty sure the person I’m responding to is still reading, so:

    “Well, all of this talk about the need to appease anti-gay groups really makes me angry. Because at the end if the day, someone is not going to get what they want. Either we get a policy that lets LGBT people serve with honor in the armed forces, or we get a policy that discriminates against them. Either we get a an inclusive ENDA, or we get a law that permits some form of workplace discrimination. Either same-sex couples are given legal rights and benefits, wholesale or a la carte, or discrimination is enshrined in law.”

    CBrachrynchos: I agree with this, and it’s the approach I would take as an activist. As someone commenting on a blog and thinking about the reality of US politics, though, I mean… A majority of US citizens believe in creationism. The majority of the polity is, in addition, either hostile to us or completely clueless (As in: “I love gay people! Queer Eye for the Straight Guy rocks!” Well, that’s great, did you vote for Prop 8?). It isn’t a very…promising political atmosphere. If Warren’s speech means he’ll have the political currency to go after DOMA, well, then… That would be good. I have to look toward *some* possibility of hope in order to get out of bed in the morning.

    And, again, none of this means I’m glad they chose Warren (See everything I’ve already said about how I don’t agree with the decision…). It’s more confusion about… I mean, this kind of hand-wringing, to me, begs the question: “How can some of the folks here have lived with voting Obama even though he’s anti-gay marriage?” I have observed far less anger among Obama supporters over substantive policy positions, and I don’t understand that. I disagree with Obama about quite a lot of things, but I could with it ’cause, damnit, I maintain he’s better than the fascist-leaning party. And that’s my justification. He’s taken positions far more damaging positions than *not* removing the designated preacher from the inaugural ceremony. I am angrier about FISA, for instance, and his opposition to gay marriage (as I may have mentioned once or twice…).

    Also, I don’t really believe that any kind of transformative change will happen at the hands of the state. Maybe that’s part of my ambivalent reaction to this… Consistent with this, I’m skeptical of human rights-based approaches that see “rights” as the end of emancipatory struggle. Let me be clear that I’m not against rights as such. We need them. Rights are not insignificant. We should have gay marriage. We should have a number of other protections. Rights are a good place to start. But if we got those things, as happy as I’d be, it’d still be true that we’re a socially marginalized group. When rights are cast as “total emancipation,” I think… Well, channeling Wendy Brown here, rights will never be enough, and casting them as such means… Well, for me, political despair. My equal subjectivity at the hands of the state–if it’s ever granted–will not mean that I’m an equal subject within my social context. As such, rights seem like far too little to fight for. This means… Well, the state will never be able to deal with the fact that we face violence and threats to our own survival all the fucking time. They could do a HELL of a lot better in prosecuting it, but that won’t eradicate the problems we face.

    All of that said… I don’t see why people are going on about rights when this is not an issue of rights. It’s a public prayer. It’s not policy. It’s not a rights issue. Yes, it’s a public nod to someone who is highly offensive on rights issues, but it is not a policy decision.

    Of course… In terms of being offensive on rights issues. Well, so the fuck is Bush’s foreign policy team. And, well, as a matter of perspective… I’m far more concerned with the fact that folks from Bush’s team of war criminals and human rights abusers is being retained than I am about a public prayer that has little to do with rights as such… The choice of Warren is insulting, as I have said, and surely it has symbolic meaning for us, but no more than that.

  28. Kristen
    Kristen December 18, 2008 at 1:19 pm |

    Politicalguineapig,

    “Oh, and Kristin-about the child molester- he is an excellent argument for the existence of arsenic.”

    Alas, her mom would just find another. It’s her schtick…recreating her abusive relationship with her father…4 generations of women…all victims of childhood sexual abuse. Like I said…real life = ulcers.

    And in case there’s some confusion there are two Kris derivations on this string…one Kristen and one Kristin. I hypothesize that there was some memo sent out in the late 70s requiring people to name their children some derivation of Kris…

  29. Mhorag
    Mhorag December 18, 2008 at 1:21 pm |

    Disclaimer: Yes, Rick Warren is an asshole. But the following post is about symbolism, not whether or not Obama is betraying LGBT’s.

    Rick Warren is giving the invocation. We all know what he says he believes in. An invocation is given at the beginning of a service. Symbolically, I believe Rick Warren represents society *as it stands now* – anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-birth control, misogynistic, etc.

    The rest of the inauguration follows, *including for the first time* a group represent LGBT’s in the inaugural parade. Symbolically, this represents the march of progress, with new beliefs/actions/whatevers joining in.

    Rev. Joseph Lowery is giving the benediction at the inauguration. Rev. Lowery is pro-LGBT and has a long record of civil rights activitism. A benediction is given at the end of a service and basically bestows blessings. Symbolically, this represents how I believe Obama’s presidency will end, with the victory of LGBT rights.

    Yes, it’s strictly symbolic – but symbols are powerful things. I do believe that while Obama may not be choosing to be overt in his *words* about his agenda regarding LGBT rights, but his symbolism is, if we can see it.

    Yeah, I over-think things. But it might be worth considering…

  30. Kristin
    Kristin December 18, 2008 at 1:25 pm |

    “Oh, and Kristin-about the child molester- he is an excellent argument for the existence of arsenic.”

    Not sure where you’re going with that, but I think your response is to Kristen, not me (I’m Kristin with an “i,” k? This is beginning to annoy me.)

    Oh, and I agree with what Kristen with an “e” said even though she is demonstrably *not* my sock poppet (see previous thread).

  31. Kristin
    Kristin December 18, 2008 at 1:27 pm |

    Let me restate that: I agree with Kristen’s basic thesis about humans, though I’m leery about claims of some “intrinsic nature.” But that doesn’t mean I’m not disappointed by this. I am. For the tenth or so time, at least.

  32. Kristin
    Kristin December 18, 2008 at 1:28 pm |

    *And* I still agree with what evil_fizz said.

  33. evil_fizz
    evil_fizz December 18, 2008 at 1:28 pm |

    I think pretty much every human being on the planet considers some portion of the population to be not “worthy of basic freedoms and protections”.

    The fact that some huge majority of the population engages in othering doesn’t make Warren’s doing so either more palatable or somehow worthy of a public platform. The fact that it’s endemic doesn’t make it acceptable.

    Warren has repeatedly made it abundantly clear that he thinks our government should be, if not instrumental, than certainly complicit in the continued oppression of a significant portion of our population. A mutual hatred of poverty (as though dislike of poverty is a position someone deserves cookie for) isn’t enough for me.

  34. Kristin with an "i"
    Kristin with an "i" December 18, 2008 at 1:37 pm |

    “The fact that some huge majority of the population engages in othering doesn’t make Warren’s doing so either more palatable or somehow worthy of a public platform. The fact that it’s endemic doesn’t make it acceptable.”

    Yes, exactly. Which is why I agree with Kristen’s conclusions about people, but also with you.

    Note: I have changed my handle to make this less confusing to people.

  35. Kristen
    Kristen December 18, 2008 at 1:38 pm |

    The fact that some huge majority of the population engages in othering doesn’t make Warren’s doing so either more palatable or somehow worthy of a public platform.

    No…it just means using that definition, nobody is right and nobody deserves a public platform and we’re stuck in a wacky-fun version of nihilism land.

    Warren is an asshat…I’m an asshat…I’m relatively sure Obama is an asshat [his anti-gay marriage stance IMO makes him an asshat]. BUT calling people Warren an asshat doesn’t make people less poor, less ill, or less dead. It makes me feel better….until I think of all the people we could have helped NOT DIE if I had kept that opinion to myself.

  36. Kristin with an "i"
    Kristin with an "i" December 18, 2008 at 1:39 pm |

    evil_fizz:

    “The fact that it’s endemic doesn’t make it acceptable.”

    Yes, exactly. Which is why I agree with Kristen’s conclusions about people, but also with you.

    Note: I have changed my handle to make this less confusing to people.

  37. Kristin
    Kristin December 18, 2008 at 1:41 pm |

    I just attempted to change my handle to Kristin with an “i” in order to make this less confusing for people, but I was sent to the spam queue for doing that, so…

    evil_fizz: Yeah I agree with this: “The fact that it’s endemic doesn’t make it acceptable.” It’s definitely not acceptable.

  38. Cassy Fiano » What’s so horrible about Rick Warren?

    [...] think Feministe, though, sums up the real problem liberals are having here rather well: While we on the left [...]

  39. Kristin with an "i"
    Kristin with an "i" December 18, 2008 at 1:46 pm |

    Gah! It went through… *is annoyed with sometimes random way the feministe queues work*

    So, back to Kristin with an “i.” I’m the same person as “Kristin.” If anyone (Hiya, Claire.) is skeptical, ask Cara, Jill, whomever. I was posting as “Kristin” earlier this morning from another computer, in the same town. Normally, just post from here.

    Kristen is not me. Kristin *is* me.

  40. Kristin with an "i"
    Kristin with an "i" December 18, 2008 at 1:51 pm |

    “No…it just means using that definition, nobody is right and nobody deserves a public platform and we’re stuck in a wacky-fun version of nihilism land.”

    Kristen: This is pretty much what I believe, but that’s why I should never be President of the United States. Or, say, a diplomat.

    And I don’t think the people objecting to the choice of Warren are moving toward any kind of nihilism in condemning this. I mean, my objection doesn’t really have anything to do with my overarching msanthropy per se. Has more to do with what it means as a symbolic blow to my community.

  41. jayinchicago
    jayinchicago December 18, 2008 at 1:59 pm |

    I really wish people would stop tossing around “gay” and “LGBT” as if they were synonymous.

  42. AcerRubrum
    AcerRubrum December 18, 2008 at 2:16 pm |

    politicalguineapig, it is entirely possible to be a progressive and a Christian. Unless I am only hallucinating my own existence, of course.

  43. Kristen
    Kristen December 18, 2008 at 2:28 pm |

    And I don’t think the people objecting to the choice of Warren are moving toward any kind of nihilism in condemning this.

    Eh…you only get to the wacky nihilist world if (1) think almost everyone is hateful to others for some reason or another [not intrinsic, just ubiquitous] AND (2) you think focusing on that as a criteria for morality is important.

    Me, I want results. I want fewer people dead, fewer people ill, fewer people suffering tremendous privation. And…well, since this seems to be the heart of the problem…I do prioritize suffering. And death (whether through poverty or violence) goes higher on my list than gay marriage. Gay marriage is higher on my list than animal rights. Polyamorous marriage rights are higher on my list than separation of church and state. Eh…you get the idea.

  44. Michelle
    Michelle December 18, 2008 at 2:53 pm |

    I think its a little bit funny. My stepmom (evil bitch) is an ultra-conservative, and its just funny how they try oh-so-hard to interpret the bible as being pro-women. She was oh-so-pleased with the ending of “Enchanted” because she wants her little girls to know that they don’t need a man to save them!! LOLZ.
    For me, there’s nothing wrong with being Christian but you gotta realize that it was written for a different culture and time than now. I mean, most ultra-conservative Christians wouldn’t go out and kill their pagan neighbors because “thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” And women do, in fact, speak inside church buildings, Etc.

  45. Rick Warren, compromise, and making our views known « Feminist Philosophers

    [...] the post before this one.) Warren is seriously right wing: anti-gay, pro-forced childbearing, and an advocate of wifely submission. Giving him a platform like this and treating him as acceptable is horrendous, and should be [...]

  46. Wittgenstein's Mistress
    Wittgenstein's Mistress December 18, 2008 at 3:14 pm |

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this. I’m glad to see more people coming out against this and not trying to dismiss this as just a play at political unity. Let’s call a spade a spade!

  47. piny
    piny December 18, 2008 at 3:16 pm |

    Right. Clearly, we cannot expect a presidential administration to focus on more than one political issue at a time. I’m sure that the Warren thing is all just a horrendous mistake: Obama was busy with the skyrocketing deficit, or clearcutting, or methane emissions, or secret prisons, and the invocation was left to some cipher in the mailroom. He googled “preacher man” on his coffee break, and it snowballed from there.

    I wish that this were a lapse in discernment. I wish it represented laziness or a cluttered presidential (-elect) desk. It’s not. It’s a calculated move, made with input by Obama, based on a lot of thinking and discussion, related to a very important issue for the new administration: the new administration’s very first public appearance. He has decided, on this high symbolic day, to play to the vituperative reactionaries and alienate most of the people in this country. That decision was as stupid as it was significant.

    It would be equally stupid–and no less worthy of notice–for progressives to tell the LGBT community (and women, and anyone who values non-dominionist civil liberties and social values, and anyone who happens to like anyone in either group) to stop complaining and pay attention to more important issues, like other people’s.

    Plus–dunno if you’ve ever had occasion to notice–lower-income Americans tend not to benefit from a lack of popular accountability. Warren isn’t the only religious figure with a sense of social justice, and the people his selection panders to really don’t give a flying fuck about poor people anyway.

  48. Angela
    Angela December 18, 2008 at 3:34 pm |

    **For example, right now…I am appeasing a fucking pedophile, so that his step daughter can get the psychological counseling she needs.

    Kristen,

    please tell me this a just a hypothetical story just to make a point?! Because if you think what you’re doing is OK, it’s not! PLEASE STOP AND GET THE POLICE INVOLVED. If don’t want to go the cops and involve yourself, then tell the therapist you take the little girl to see.

    If your story is true, not only have you not helped her, you may have exasterbated the situation. Does the man suspect you know of his activities?

  49. Holly
    Holly December 18, 2008 at 3:57 pm |

    I want to comment more extensively on the nauseating but unsurprising matter of Rick Warren, but I’m pretty busy at work so I just thought I’d pop in to comment on this:

    If hanging out with an anti-choice and anti-woman bigot and respecting him as a person, but calmly point out that you disagree on some issues, resulted in hate crime legislation that protected transpersons would you do it?

    I definitely would not hang out with someone like that, not least because like many trans activists, I don’t believe there’s such a thing as “hate crime legislation that protects transpeople.” Hate crime legislation is a well-inentioned but flimsy ruse that has no real deterrent effect and hasn’t really protected many people. In fact quite the opposite — statistically hate crime charges tends to be used slightly more often against the groups they were ostensibly instituted to protect, like people of color being charged under racial hate crime laws. If you think about the system, it’s not hard to see why the numbers shake out this way.

    Since you pointed out trans people specifically, I’ll also just say that the largest trans lobbying organization in the US only supports hate crime legislation of very limited kinds that can’t be used to hurt trans communites, and does so as a maneuver to make political inroads, and that here in New York State, there was recently a deep division in LGBT organizing circles, centered at the LGBT Community Center here in NYC, over whether to support the state employment non-discrimination act if it also includes a hate crimes provision, since so many queer activists here are opposed to hate crimes legislation.

    Not really relevant to the question at hand, but don’t use hate crimes as an example, they’re not a good example for the reasons I describe above. :D

    If it was a cause I actually believed in, of course I’d sit down and talk with a bigot, and have. I don’t know that I’d invite one to speak at a public event I was holding though — big difference. Or basically exactly what Hilary Rosen said on CNN — of course it’s an important conversation to have, but not at this symbolic event of unity. Warren is a divisive, hatred-spreading bigot. It doesn’t matter how many people he represents. It may be necessary to talk and discuss and figure out how to move forward productively with people of his ilk, but he has no place at a symbolic, national, media-spotlight event about unity.

  50. Kristin with an "i"
    Kristin with an "i" December 18, 2008 at 4:00 pm |

    Oh, shit, I hadn’t seen that. Kristen: Yeah, what Angela said.

  51. Charity
    Charity December 18, 2008 at 4:01 pm |

    I think Piny said it all there. And I have to agree with Angela about the situation Kristen described. I’m sure you know all the dynamics very well and all, and your heart is in the right place, but that is NOT your decision to make. If DCF / CPS is involved, the child can get counseling WITHOUT having to live with a child molester in the meantime. (and yes, I am well aware of the grave inadequacies of DCF / CPS, but what you are saying is truly very distorted – maybe *in a few years* she can tell the truth and get help? Just…no .) Please know that counseling doesn’t do jack shit if the environment she’s returning to is UNSAFE and abusive. Please, tell the police and/or the therapist, so that the appropriate investigation can begin.

  52. Kristin with an "i"
    Kristin with an "i" December 18, 2008 at 4:04 pm |

    Also, re: what Charity said: Kristen, you’re legally obligated to report this person if you the victim in a counseling capacity.

  53. Kristin with an "i"
    Kristin with an "i" December 18, 2008 at 4:04 pm |

    that should’ve read… “if you know the victim in a counseling capacity”

  54. Kristen
    Kristen December 18, 2008 at 4:09 pm |

    Angela,

    The man has been arrested three times. For three separate children. Police come…they ask questions. They undermine the child’s statements. They torment the parents until they give up. They go away.

    The last time he was arrested, the girls (there is another female child) were temporarily removed from the home (because the mother woudn’t leave). When the parents of child who spoke up finally just gave up after 6 months of the prosecutor “confirming” the child’s story, they allowed the children to go back with their mother.

    I’m sorry if you were under the impression that the police are useful in this instance. I’m a lawyer. I’ve been working on this girls behalf with her school counseler, her teacher, her psychologist and children’s advocates. Until she comes forward (something she won’t readily do because of the dissociative disorder and the nervous breakdown her mother had when the first husband was sent to prison for molesting her), her sister comes forward, or the mother comes forward…nothing is going to get her out of that home.

    The damn dinners are to allay his fears, since he’s the one in control of the children. Prior to my involvement, the kids weren’t fed regularly, they didn’t have sufficient clothing, and the child being molested was being fed copious amounts of anti-psychotics for the wrong mental illness.

    Like I said…real life…messy.

  55. Kristin with an "i"
    Kristin with an "i" December 18, 2008 at 4:13 pm |

    Oh shit, Kristen… Wow…

  56. Kristen
    Kristen December 18, 2008 at 4:16 pm |

    Oh, and the last time he was investigated by CPS he left the state. I spoke with CPS on a no-names basis when I first learned of the abuse. They said what I told you. Without proof of abuse, there is nothing they can do.

  57. Marcie
    Marcie December 18, 2008 at 4:37 pm |

    Kristen,

    As a survivor of child sexual abuse; getting therapy while being sexually abused does not a damn bit of good. That’s like taking a starving child to lunch once a month. Or pulling one arm out of the mouth of a lion while allowing the rest of the child’s body to be chewed on.

    I admire you for trying to do good, but until the child is NOT being abused; she will continue to be eff’d up, no matter how much therapy she gets. Going to dinner with the pedophile does even less good, especially if the children know that you see him because that sends them a huge message that what he is doing is OK and you condone it. You are not a person to be trusted if they believe that you see their abuser socially.

  58. Kristen
    Kristen December 18, 2008 at 4:47 pm |

    Marcie,

    I can’t stop the abuse. I can’t get her out of that home. So, should I have left her there barely eating, with no winter clothes, diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and swallowing so many anti-psychotics that her liver was being damaged?

    But this topic has thoroughly derailed this thread…which I didn’t intend for it to do. If you’d like to discuss it further, let’s talk over here.

    http://kilikinaioi.livejournal.com/837.html

  59. Faith
    Faith December 18, 2008 at 5:02 pm |

    “Prior to my involvement, the kids weren’t fed regularly, they didn’t have sufficient clothing, and the child being molested was being fed copious amounts of anti-psychotics for the wrong mental illness.”

    Even if there is no evidence of sexual abuse, if this part is accurate, I see no reason that the CPS could not intervene in this regard and remove the child from the home. Child neglect is just as illegal as child abuse.

    “I admire you for trying to do good, but until the child is NOT being abused; she will continue to be eff’d up, no matter how much therapy she gets. Going to dinner with the pedophile does even less good, especially if the children know that you see him because that sends them a huge message that what he is doing is OK and you condone it. You are not a person to be trusted if they believe that you see their abuser socially.”

    Agreed.

  60. ol cranky
    ol cranky December 18, 2008 at 5:24 pm |

    The thing that these submission pushers rarely acknowledge is that the other have of the submitting wife equation is the husband who loves his wife as Christ loved the church. I’ve yet to run across THAT guy.

    I have run into that guy. He doesn’t want a wife who submits to him, he wants an egalitarian relationship.

  61. Angela
    Angela December 18, 2008 at 5:55 pm |

    Kristen,

    Do you practice family law or criminal law? Because if you were a criminal lawyer, that clown would have had his ass locked up by now. Can you twist some arms in the DA’s office to come down on this guy? Start calling in some favors. I’m quite sure somebody owns you something. Because believe you and me, you owe that little girl big time!

  62. William
    William December 18, 2008 at 6:01 pm |

    Even if there is no evidence of sexual abuse, if this part is accurate, I see no reason that the CPS could not intervene in this regard and remove the child from the home. Child neglect is just as illegal as child abuse.

    That might be true if it weren’t for the fact that CPS agencies are, almost universally, staffed by bored incompetents and burnt out former crusaders who just can’t emotionally handle giving a shit anymore. They’re undermotivated, understaffed, underfunded, undertrained, and often motivated solely by a desire to cover their own asses. A DCFS caseworker in Illinois I made a report to in a professional counseling capacity last year told me that they were only taking cases of an immediately life threatening nature or sexual abuse to such a degree that the press would get someone fired if it came out. Attempting to drown your children wasn’t a good enough reason to investigate (much less take a child out of them home) if it happened more than thirty days before the report. Even if you do manage to get a child into “protective custody” the abuse rates for foster placements or residential facilities, especially for a kid with any kind of disability, are horrifying on a level most people just can’t comprehend.

    Sometimes there are no right answers or good options.

  63. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 18, 2008 at 6:05 pm |

    I’m confused–how is giving bigots like Warren legitimacy going to push things like hate crimes legislation and anti-discrimination laws through? If anything, it will set us back.

    The Dems have pandered to the right wing on reproductive rights and civil rights, and hasn’t *that* gone swimmingly. NOT.

  64. DaisyDeadhead
    DaisyDeadhead December 18, 2008 at 6:26 pm |

    I’m furious over this whole thing. I’ve blogged about Rick Warren before; I think he is a blight upon the land.

    Obama needs to ADD another member of the clergy, to counterbalance RW. Like, a female or openly gay minister (dare we hope for both?), to provide some ‘equal time’. That would satisfy me, and maybe scare off Rick… but I know scaring him off would be bad PR right now.

    (((sigh)))

  65. DaisyDeadhead
    DaisyDeadhead December 18, 2008 at 6:28 pm |

    And #29, Mhorag–I liked your comment and I hope you are right.

  66. Chester
    Chester December 18, 2008 at 7:22 pm |

    What’s the HTML code for screaming and puking at the same time?

  67. Skullhunter
    Skullhunter December 18, 2008 at 7:45 pm |

    Geez, I spend a few hours at work, and Kristin with an “i”, CBrachyrhynchos, Sheelzebub and half a dozen other people cover all the stuff I was mulling over at 4:30 AM while struggling with tire chains. It’s enough to make a person paranoid I tells ya.

    Kristin, since I didn’t get back to you in the other thread, wanted to let you know that personally I lean mainly anarchist but I’m also cynical enough about it that I don’t think most of humanity in its current shape is mature enough to handle a lack of hierarchy. I voted Obama for similar reasons of survival-mindedness. Same reason the only thing I retained from my wingnut days is the responsible and rational exercise of my 2nd Amendment rights. This Warren thing stung, but I never realistically looked at Obama as anything but a digging in of heels against our current downward slide as a nation. It’s like getting stiffed for the check at dinner by someone you all ready expect to do it, but then they slap you dead in the face before they run out the door.

  68. Bene
    Bene December 18, 2008 at 9:23 pm |

    Daisy, that’s a good point–any change to the schedule would be very, very bad PR. There’s nothing for it, now, except to keep making a stink. Be loud, be visible, don’t write off the entire administration because of one appalling political pander, and keep working on legislation.

  69. Rick Warren Update « Emily Posts
    Rick Warren Update « Emily Posts December 18, 2008 at 10:14 pm |

    [...] And here’s what feministe has to say. [...]

  70. AnonymousThisTime
    AnonymousThisTime December 19, 2008 at 12:28 am |

    What’s the HTML code for screaming and puking at the same time?

    Is it sad that over the last week or so I’ve gone from wondering that at 4chan to wondering that at the stories they’ve been linking here?

  71. Kristin with an "i"
    Kristin with an "i" December 19, 2008 at 8:00 am |

    Here, Warren conflates gay marriage with incest marriage (“between a brother and a sister”) and pedophilia-based marriage (“between an old man and a young girl”). This, in addition to the usual “slippery slope” rhetoric about polygamy and bestiality:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/12/18/rick-warren-i-dont-hate-g_n_152157.html

    Also, he explains that he deserves major ally points because he gave water and donuts to gay protesters. And deigns to “talk to them” when asked.

  72. Kristin with an "i"
    Kristin with an "i" December 19, 2008 at 8:01 am |

    I think my recent comment went to the spam filter? Maybe because it included a link to another article.

  73. Kristin with an "i"
    Kristin with an "i" December 19, 2008 at 8:03 am |

    Skullhunter:

    “It’s like getting stiffed for the check at dinner by someone you all ready expect to do it, but then they slap you dead in the face before they run out the door.”

    Definitely.

  74. Kristin with an "i"
    Kristin with an "i" December 19, 2008 at 8:11 am |

    In better news, Obama seems poised to appoint an out gay man, William White, as navy secretary and potentially do something once and for all about “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Sorry ’bout the shit paper I’m drawing this from. It’s the first news source I’ve found.

    Replace “[DOT]” with “.”, obviously. I’m hoping that’ll stop me from going straight into the spam filter this time:

    http://www.washingtontimesDOTcom/news/2008/dec/18/gay-man-backed-for-navy-secretary/

  75. Holly
    Holly December 19, 2008 at 10:24 am |

    Kristin — comments can go into moderation for any number of reasons. It’s not exactly a spam filter (we have another filter for that) your message definitely won’t get lost, it’s just that sometimes the system decides that one of us needs to look at a message first. Which is why one or more of us checks on the moderation queue frequently. All you gotta do in those cases is be patient — and your comment *should* be showing up for you to see, with a message that says “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” If you’re not seeing that, something odd is happening, but if your comment eventually shows up, that means we see it over here.

  76. Kristin with an "i"
    Kristin with an "i" December 19, 2008 at 10:29 am |

    Holly: I know, but they usually show up to me as “in moderation queue” when that happens. Jill emailed me a while back that several of my comments were getting filtered inexplicably to the spam filter. That is, they didn’t show up to me on the page as being in the mod queue and just seemed to get lost out in cyberspace. When my comments don’t show up to me as “in mod queue,” my assumption is that they’ve been filtered to spam. The comment I’d made didn’t show up this time, so rather than emailing Jill to ask about whether or not what I’d said had gone to spam, I just posted the question here.

  77. Kristen
    Kristen December 19, 2008 at 10:32 am |

    Holly,

    I couldn’t disagree with you more. You speak of unity, but evangelicals are an significant portion of our country. As much as we’d like to marginalize them and remove them from public discourse, we can’t. There are too many of them. Unity in terms of solving our international problems requires their participation.

    I’m not saying we should embrace the religious right in all of their fuckedupedness, I’m not even saying you can’t dislike the guy, I’m saying…that when you’re in a position of power, choices have real and lasting consequences.

    Slighting Warren, one of the most powerful evangelical leaders in this country would likely result in an inability to cooperate on the issues we agree about. It’s a real choice with real consequences to peoples lives.

    This isn’t like when we talk about outrage over stonings in Iran and some idiot comes by and says “but what about the starving children in Africa where’s there outrage?” You can be outraged at both. You can donate time and money to both causes. You can care about both. This isn’t a BOTH situation. It’s a choose the box situation. Make nice with a bigot and let him talk about non-controversial subjects or kiss away the cooperation of probably about 420 million people world-wide on the issues of global health, global poverty and global climate change.

    Pick One.

    To me it seems like there are two issues that I find troubling. (1) It seems like the outrage over Warren is an issue of “Why isn’t Obama putting the LGB&T communities FIRST.” Which seems incredibly narrow. Can we have no other priorities that are more pressing?

    Since you didn’t like my hate crimes hypothetical (I agree that HC legislation probably won’t protect anyone in the short term, but I see it as an important symbol for acknowledging people who are transgendered as actual human beings – and I’m certain that in attempting (& failing) to pass this legislation, progressive members of congress had to at least try to make nice with some of the more conservative elements of congress. Do you blame them as well?) let’s try another less realistic example. If there was a small child on the edge of a cliff and the only way to save her was to join hands with several people including a Klan member (we’ll make it on live TV to connect the publicness) with him spouting hate speech the whole way (and in full Klan regalia, why not), would you do it?

    (2) We’re responding to dehumanizing hate…with dehumanizing hate. I hear the whole…”Why do we have to be the better people” argument. I just don’t agree. Being a person who doesn’t hate people isn’t about “changing” their minds or being perceived as more awesome…it’s about being a good person. Period. No additional incentive required.

    Put another way…we are all Ohana. Every human soul (even the sociopathic ones) on this planet is part of the human family. We share our common humanity. People like Warren may not agree with that sentiment. They may want to disown people, deny their human existence. But that doesn’t give us cause to disown him, to deny his human existence.

  78. Kristin with an "i"
    Kristin with an "i" December 19, 2008 at 10:33 am |

    Anyway, Jill had said to contact her/other feministe bloggers when that happened, so that’s what I was doing. It seemed to happen with this comment I had been talking about here. Sorry for the annoyance of putting it in comments…

  79. The Morning After: Death of Sparks Edition - The Sexist - Washington City Paper

    [...] Rick Warren! Wants wives to submit to their husbands, Feministe remembers. But shrewd Barack Obama must cross party lines to pacify America’s [...]

  80. Holly
    Holly December 19, 2008 at 10:39 am |

    Ah ok, that’s what I was afraid might be the case when I mentioned “something odd is happening.” In theory, if your comments are actually going into the spam bucket and not really getting lost out in cyberspace (in which case they’d never show up) then we should be able to correct this by marking your comments as “not spam” repeatedly, and if you keep using the same name and e-mail address for your posts. There’s a small chance that something about your username is also contributing, possibly the quotes around “i,” so you may want to remove those, but changing your username may require us to re-filter you. Also, you seem to be making a lot of posts. That’s not necessarily a bad thing! However, it increases the chance that the spam filter will cast a suspicious glance over you — it raises your “likely to be spam” chance, as do links (as you surmised) and longer posts (which is how I always get caught). So brevity and laconicity can be good in some cases :)

  81. Holly
    Holly December 19, 2008 at 10:48 am |

    Kristen — I don’t disagree with anything you’re saying, actually. All I said (in the last paragraph of my post, which is the only part related to Warren) was that the inauguration may not have been the best moment to “sit down at the same table” with Warren. Or the necessary moment to do so, even if it is a good idea. As the debate on CNN pointed out, Warren is quite the opposite of a “figure of unity” from the right-wing evangelical community. You’d be hard-pressed to find one, of course, but grabbing the nearest evangelical blowhard without really taking into consideration his public political view ends up creating an extremely disingenuous message of unity. If that wasn’t the case, so many people wouldn’t be upset; obviously this isn’t sending a message of unity. Folks like Warren are very open about being the enemies of unity; they want to be divisive and ignite the culture war further since it keeps them in business. It doesn’t dehumanize them to point that out, and there are alternatives for having the right wing and religious communities represented, either at this event or at others.

    I’m not particularly surprised about any of this and I don’t expect the nascent administration to yank the invite, since at this point it would be a slight to the right wing. However, that doesn’t mean it was a necessary choice or a good choice to make in the first place, or that we shouldn’t be expressing outrage about it — it’s our duty to express horrified, disgusted outrage about it, and it’s simultaneously our task to keep in mind that of course a presidential administration is going to have to shake the KKK’s hand or whatever, it’s part of the job. Those things aren’t mutually contradictory even if they invoke a certain degree of cognitive dissonance. If you’re mostly making a plea for people to be nicer / more respectful / less dehumanizing of political enemies who want to strip their rights, sure that’s always a noble and peaceful cause to plea for, but whatever. Not exactly unfamiliar ground either.

  82. Kristin with an "i"
    Kristin with an "i" December 19, 2008 at 10:49 am |

    Kristen:

    I’m skeptical on some of your points, but I do think this is important:

    “You speak of unity, but evangelicals are an significant portion of our country. As much as we’d like to marginalize them and remove them from public discourse, we can’t. There are too many of them. Unity in terms of solving our international problems requires their participation.”

    I think progressive communities discount the political force behind the religious right at their peril. I have seen this all over the progressive blogosphere, and while I thought Michael Berube provided the best analysis I’ve seen so far, he too committed this error. The religious right and its sympathizers are no small minority. Sure, the people who are just as batshit as, say, James Dobson? They are a minority, but there are plenty of “nicer” people who are sympathetic to his views.

    I don’t know your history, Holly, and I’m not speaking directly to you here. But I will say that I grew up in a place where the Christian Right has a major stronghold. These people were everywhere. They were powerful. They ran our local government and had unprecedented access to the state government. Just during my high school years, they instantiated abstinence only education in state law. I often encounter a disconnect with people who do not share these experiences–say, people who grew up in New England and who view the Christian Right as a small and ineffective fringe group. At a more broad level, they do control the paramilitary groups that run rampant in this country, with Blackwater at their helm. We do not.

    Obama’s win does not erase the fact that these people are a strong and potent political force in this country. Now that the recent elections have fed their persecution complex, they will stop at nothing to attain control over both (1.) local and federal government and (2.) the medical industry (See, for instance, the most recent thread about this.). While I agree that Obama *should* do the right thing and snub Warren, I remain convinced that doing so would make him hugely unpopular among the majority of Americans as well as within the legislative branch. I don’t want to placate the Christian Right either. They are an undemocratic, hateful group who dream about attaining fascist rule over this country and moved *even closer* to that dream during the Bush years. I do think think we need to take strategic concerns into account when thinking about how best to fight them, and I know that sometimes leads to compromise, the appearance of placation, and, well, me vomiting a little in my mouth. This is hard to negotiate, and I’m not sure how *best* to do so… But Obama *is* going to have to figure out a way of subduing–and working with–them.

  83. Kristin
    Kristin December 19, 2008 at 10:51 am |

    Okay, changed back to just Kristin. Maybe that’ll help… In fact, one of my longer posts *just* went to the spam filter, I think.

  84. Kristin
    Kristin December 19, 2008 at 10:54 am |

    Holly: re: my post that I think got lost in spam…

    Well, yeah, you’re hitting on what I found troubling in that comment:

    “If you’re mostly making a plea for people to be nicer / more respectful / less dehumanizing of political enemies who want to strip their rights, sure that’s always a noble and peaceful cause to plea for, but whatever.”

    I don’t think *we* are compelled to be nicer to these bigots. But I think Obama may have to just because of our political reality–because it’s Realpolitik, not the right thing to do.

  85. Holly
    Holly December 19, 2008 at 10:55 am |

    Heh, I don’t know how I got made into the spokesperson for “we should cast Warren out and revile and marginalize him as much as possible since he’s a fringe wacko, damn the torpedoes and blast the consequences” since I never said or implied anything of the sort.

    Kristin — your last long post (above) did not go to the spam filter. It went to the moderation queue, which is a very safe and OK place for a long comment like that to go, and not a place it would get lost or ignored. If it didn’t show up for you that time as “Your comment is awaiting moderation” then it’s an issue with your browser or your local session with the website (do you have cookies enabled? that’s how the site knows to show you and only you your “in moderation” posts) since that time at least, things are getting sorted correctly on this end.

  86. Kristin
    Kristin December 19, 2008 at 11:00 am |

    Holly, thanks for letting me know. Thanks for explaining–I hadn’t realized it could be an issue with my browser.

  87. Kristin
    Kristin December 19, 2008 at 11:04 am |

    And, heh… Yeah, my posting comes in spurts. There’s a lot of it now, but I just went months without posting at all, and it’ll soon happen again, I think… Oh, well… Anyway, didn’t mean to derail here.

  88. piny
    piny December 19, 2008 at 11:05 am |

    Kristen…this is the equivalent of the ticking-time-bomb scenario. Like specious arguments about the utility of torture in some alternate-universe causality model, this is just not how it works. First of all, evangelicals–if by evangelicals you mean evangelicals like Rick Warren, because that’s a different and far smaller category–are not the only people out there interested in social justice. Obama could, for example, have requested someone like Cecil Williams: anti-racist, LGBT-friendly, anti-poverty activist. There’s a whole spectrum of devoted, committed preachers and religious figures–even if you restrict your field to people who won’t offend social conservatives and pearl-clutchers.

    This guy is effectively a dominionist: he doesn’t believe in compromise; he believes in taking rights away from other people because they conflict with his religious views. That selfishness, small blessing, does not conflict with a sense of empathy for the less-ofrtunate–at least, if they don’t have uteruses or life partners–

  89. Holly
    Holly December 19, 2008 at 11:14 am |

    Although I love Cecil Williams, and I think he would have made a GREAT left-wing religious counterpart to a more right-wing religious figure, he’s pretty damn radical, all the way back to the Black Panthers. I think Kristen was suggesting that some symbolic gesture is needed to reach out to the religious right, not to religious communities in general.

    Even if that’s the case, it would DEFINITELY be possible to find a choice who’s less of a divisive, radical-in-moderate’s-clothing dominionist than Warren. Or to not do this kind of outreach at the very beginning, the inauguration that they’re touting as symbolic of unity. It undercuts the program. Find someone who’s a conservative, who would be acceptable to mainstream, Christian Republicans but who doesn’t go around preaching divisive hatred. Find a innocuous, non-offensive choice. Find the equivalent of ALAN COLMES, for god’s sake. The right-wing does this to the left all the time, and the left can do them one better by finding someone who’s not a total patsy, but who’s further towards the center than someone like Warren, who clearly just “tones it down” but has radical beliefs.

  90. Kristen J
    Kristen J December 19, 2008 at 11:21 am |

    Kristin,

    I’ll move to Kristen J to relieve future confusion. :)

    Holly,

    I guess I’m just frustrated at the level of vitriol directed at the administration for this choice (not by you, of course). I, like Kristin (shocker, given our names huh?), also grew up in fundamentalist communities. There’s an enormous level of dogma in that belief system. Always agree with members of your church. Everyone else is going to hell anyway so they don’t matter. Don’t talk to them, don’t engage them…don’t try to understand them. They don’t exist.

    When I start to see it creep up in other spaces, like I believe its doing here…I get very, very uncomfortable. Life is complicated. If you focus on the consequences, there are few good choices. Sometimes, you have to make the decision that causes the least harm rather than the one that makes you feel righteous.

    Obama (or his administration, or whomever) made the choice. Some may not agree that it was the “right” choice. [From my experience Warren is one of the least offensive leaders of the evangelical right and he has a large global presence due to that stupid book, I have extended family in Oklahoma who actually believe that people who are gay should be imprisoned for their sins against God. Vomit.] But there are many people writing Obama off as betraying the progressive movement. Regardless of what else he may or may not do to promote our agenda. That one decision is a deal breaker.

    Which makes no sense to me.

  91. Kristin
    Kristin December 19, 2008 at 11:27 am |

    Holly: Agreed, but it would cause a *huge* shitstorm to find someone else *after* everyone has already learned about Warren. I still think they should do it, but I don’t suspect they will.

    piny: I don’t think the “ticking time bomb” scenario is an apt comparison here. Arguments about the utility of torture are far different from arguments allowing that we *talk* to bigots. The first is a utilitarian justification for a human rights violation. The second has to do with the strategic non-rights based tactics we may deploy to weaken the political influence of people like Warren (who support human rights violations). This is a big difference. Kristen is not doing anything close to justifying torture here.

    That, said, Kristen:

    Yeah, I don’t agree that the right strategy is to just be nicer to the Religious Right. That will facilitate their ascendancy, not weaken their base.

  92. Kristin
    Kristin December 19, 2008 at 11:31 am |

    Kristen J: Good idea on the name change. I thought about “Kristin R,” but noticed someone else on here recently posting as “Kristen R” and just thought that seemed too complicated…

  93. Kristin
    Kristin December 19, 2008 at 11:38 am |

    Also, Kristen, I have the same instinctive reaction to Warren that you do. He’s certainly far less vile than some of the people I’ve known–that is, avowed Rushdoony-ites who actually believe that gays and “unchaste women” should be executed by the state. He’s even less offensive than some of the more public faces of the Christian Right; after all, at least he didn’t blame us for 9/11. I know, I know… That doesn’t make him any less of a vile homophobe. It just means he’d sit in a room with me without spitting in my face. And his “concern for Africa,” I think, is highly paternalistic and tied to colonial discourses of “civilization.”

    In any case, I really think he’s a far more palpable political danger than some of the more extremist extremists that we have been acquainted with. He seems nice on the surface, or–as someone said on Berube’s blog–”reassuring if one isn’t paying attention.”

  94. Holly
    Holly December 19, 2008 at 11:44 am |

    Pam Spaulding just posted another take on this: It’s our religious guy vs. their religious guy, and our guy will win because he’s way better. Or at least we should be rooting for him to win, and hoping that he’s there to counteract the messages implicitly and explicitly sent by Warren.

    Joseph Lowery is not exactly Cecil Williams, but he is an impressive left-wing religious and civil rights figure in his own right, and has far deeper roots in the history of religion, morality, and political movements than Warren does, for all his megachurchery.

  95. Kristen J
    Kristen J December 19, 2008 at 11:51 am |

    Piny,

    I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree on the size and power of the evangelical movement. I think we may have different experiences that lead us to be our opinion that Warren is centrist or radical in that movement. In my experience…he’s center left. Additionally, I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on the level of visibility he already has. Part of the reason I don’t see this as so egregious is I don’t think we’re making him any more visible than he already is or providing him with additional credibility.

    As for the utility of torture argument…one of the first principles of utilitarian-existentialism is sort of the equivalent of “first do no harm”. If I thought for a moment Warren was going to get up on that stage and spout forced birth or anti-LGB&T rhetoric I’d set up a tent in front of the stage and play “We Shall Be Free” or something through a loud speaker. (Of course that wouldn’t work, but you get the idea.) His speech will probably offend me more because it’s a Christian ceremony at a governmental event than as a substantive speech.

    I get that he’s a dominionist. But like it or not dominionists control most of our government. Read Sharlot’s The Family. If you want to get stuff done, you have to deal with them. Hell, even the Clinton’s were intimately involved with a gender segregated part of the evangelical movement.

  96. Kristen J
    Kristen J December 19, 2008 at 12:04 pm |

    Yeah, I don’t agree that the right strategy is to just be nicer to the Religious Right. That will facilitate their ascendancy, not weaken their base.

    I only mean nicer in the sense of not treating them as non-humans. Besides if the Religious Right isn’t running this country I’ll eat my hat. But I don’t mean nicer in the baking them cookies sense. Personally, I like annoying them with disgusting stories from the bible…like how Lot got his get out of destruction free card (hint, rape) or how God is like Dick Cheney: Job and waterboarding.

    I’m not saying we don’t point out that they’re wrong. Absolutely we point out their wrong. But this idea of non-engagement…it doesn’t work. The evangelical movement isn’t 3 guys in a basement.

  97. Kristin
    Kristin December 19, 2008 at 1:39 pm |

    Kristen:

    “I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree on the size and power of the evangelical movement. I think we may have different experiences that lead us to be our opinion that Warren is centrist or radical in that movement. In my experience…he’s center left.”

    Yes.

  98. Kristin
    Kristin December 19, 2008 at 1:45 pm |

    “But this idea of non-engagement…it doesn’t work. The evangelical movement isn’t 3 guys in a basement.”

    Yeah, I know. As I said, I experience a disconnect with many, many people when it comes to assessing the actual influence of the Religious Right. If we underestimate them too much, we’ll get Palin/Huckabee in 2012.

  99. Kristen J
    Kristen J December 19, 2008 at 1:51 pm |

    If we underestimate them too much, we’ll get Palin/Huckabee in 2012.

    Vomit. My mom actually has a Palin 2012 bumper sticker… The Stupid….It Burns!

  100. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 19, 2008 at 3:42 pm |

    Kirsten J, these religious bigots have done everything in their power to take away my right to make my own medical decisions, to marry whom I want, and to do something as mundane as take the pill. They push for discriminatory policies towards LBGT people and women. If anyone is treating others like subhumans, it’s them. I don’t see these folks sweating the untold harm they’ve done to me and others like me.

  101. Kristen J
    Kristen J December 19, 2008 at 5:01 pm |

    Er…I don’t think this went through before…my browser crashed, but if it did I apologize.

    If anyone is treating others like subhumans, it’s them.

    I believe I specifically stated that. They aren’t good people. Not even a little. Of course they aren’t sweating it. They don’t care about other people. Should we join their philosophy that only some people are “worthy”?

    Believe me…I know the rights they spend their time trying to strip away. I grew up with them telling me I couldn’t wear pants! Pants are sinful. Its ridiculous the level they’ll sink to in order to control everyone in their congregations.

  102. Mireille
    Mireille December 19, 2008 at 6:06 pm |

    But how is NOT inviting someone from the dominionist right snubbing as non-human? Some people may be saying we shouldn’t talk to them at all, which I can certainly sympathize with; it’s hard to feel magnanimous towards someone who basically thinks you’re not his equal. But, giving him a place of honor on a world stage on an historic night… I just don’t see how this does anything but show approval, purposefully or inadvertantly, of his views. There are so many other forums that would have been more appropriate. And to judge from the right wing reaction, there is more furor at Warren than approval of Obama. This was a lose-lose. He gained no traction on the right and lost some support from the left. Just a hugely stupid political maneuver.

  103. octogalore
    octogalore December 19, 2008 at 6:19 pm |

    Salon state that Dianne Feinstein’s team confirms that Warren was Obama’s pick (http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2008/12/19/rick_warren/?source=newsletter):

    “‘That was solely the choice of the president-elect,’ said Gil Duran, a spokesman for Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who chairs the congressional committee. Obama’s staff sent explicit orders for whom to include in the inaugural ceremony up to Capitol Hill, since Congress is, technically, in charge of that part of the day. ‘Sen. Feinstein obviously disagrees with the views of Rev. Warren on issues that affect the gay and lesbian community,’ Duran said. ‘However, Sen. Feinstein respects the president-elect’s prerogative to select a cleric to deliver the invocation.’ (That one doesn’t need any translation — Feinstein’s office was politely, respectfully, throwing Obama under the bus.)

    Warren’s spokesman, A. Larry Ross, told Salon Obama had contacted Warren to invite him, not the other way around.”

  104. piny
    piny December 20, 2008 at 8:45 pm |

    What Mireille said. This isn’t reaching across the aisle. This is handing them the mike. That man may be moderate if you narrow the field to the truly reactionary, but he is not moderate in terms of American religious belief or American beliefs about social-conservative flashpoints. Wifely submission does not have mainstream consensus here; neither does the belief that a gay relationship should be legally indistinct from bestiality.

    We can certainly agree to disagree, but I’ve got the election results on my side. I don’t know if you remember, but we have had both Huckabee and Palin candidacies. Huckabee lost the primary to the man who pretended he was a moderate conservative. That man proceeded to attach himself to Palin, and she helped cost him the election. The man who defeated him by running as a moderate liberal just shocked the nation by asking a reactionary to bless his office. Warren does not represent the ascendant political power players in this country. Playing to that “base” was a stupid, self-defeating strategy for the party of racist misogynist troglodytes; their nemeses will get absolutely nowhere in service to it.

  105. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 20, 2008 at 11:35 pm |

    “I believe I specifically stated that. They aren’t good people. Not even a little. Of course they aren’t sweating it. They don’t care about other people. Should we join their philosophy that only some people are “worthy”?”

    This isn’t about who’s “worthy,” for Hade’s sake (though people like me have been treated as unworthy by both parties for years now), and frankly, it’s not about the wounded and bruised fee-fee’s of bigots. We’ve been giving these folks plenty of credibility, space to speak their minds, and sympathy since at least Bill Clinton was in office, and it’s not as if they have come to the conclusion that us bitches or queers are human beings. These folks have had the mike (as Piny put it) for years now, and it’s only served to legitimize their bigotry and embolden them.

    You want to engage folks like Warren at roundtables and public debates and the like? Hey, have at it. But engagement does NOT mean we give them (yet *again*) a platform to further bolster their credibility. Even if Obama yells from the rooftops that he does not agree with Warren, he will legitimize Warren’s vile and hateful views by giving him this platform and this place of honor.

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